Serpentex 2013The Royal Canadian Air Force got up close and personal with ground troops during close air support exercises with other participating nations in Corsica, France. The mission was part of Exercise Serpentex 2013, which ran from November 25 to December 6 and included other NATO allies’ air forces.

The 195-member RCAF team brought Six CF-18 Hornets, a CP-140 Aurora, a CC-130J Hercules and a CC-150 Polaris with them to Europe.

Along with the close air support missions, the RCAF team exercised the operational and logistical facets of deploying an air task force overseas including: combined air operations training, strategic air-to-air refueling, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, strategic airlift planning and execution and the establishment of a deployed combat operations centres.

“This is a unique opportunity for both our CF-18 pilots and our Canadian [joint terminal attack controllers] to train with other nations, and to confirm our procedures for operating within a coalition,” said Major Aaron Macluskie, a CF-18 pilot and the Canadian senior national representative at Serpentex.

The close air support missions were of particular note to the Canadians.

“In a [close air support] mission, the [joint terminal attack controllers’] job is to find and identify targets, guide weapons and provide control of the air space within the operating area to track friendly troops and deconflict air and ground forces,” said Captain Alan Lockerby, supervisor of the joint terminal attack controllers and Serpentex forward air controller supervisor.


– Jeff Mackey